Richard (doctorphalanx) has been encouraging me to introduce baggage camps into Tilly’s Very Bad Day. I like painting up camps for DBA and I already have a camp for my Dutch army of the Thirty years War. My question is, was looting the baggage train/camp a significant event in any battles of the Thirty years War or English Civil War?
Don’t get me wrong, lots of looting happened after the battles. But for that we don’t need a camp on table.
My impression is that in-battle looting, looting of the camp during a battle, was rare. So rare that it should not be included in the rules at all or, if simulated at all, it is a scenario specific rule. Am I right?
I guess another question is, are camps so cool that I should include them just because they are pretty?
My Dutch Camp
Okay, I can’t proceed without sharing a shot of my lovely camp Dutch camp. Painted by Roland Davis 20 years ago.
I got it because I assumed I’d be using some variant of DBx for the Eighty Years War and Thirty years War. But I went off DBR so fast I never actually used the camp. Tragically it is still waiting in the storage box.
And because I’ve never used the Dutch camp, I never bothered making camps for my other armies (Spanish, Swedish, Imperialist).
Evidence for in battle looting of baggage
Are there more?
Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)
At Breitenfeld the fleeing Saxons looted the baggage train of their Swedish allies. I love this example, because of the betrayal, but it sounds like a scenario special rule.
The massive Imperial squares turned ponderously oblique right and began to move forward; the light cavalry on their right made straight for the Saxon lines. As the Croatian horsemen, hardened by generations of conflict with their neighbors in the Turkish empire, emerged screaming from under the dust and smoke, Johann Georg’s green recruits began to waver. The Saxons had barely held up under the pounding of the Imperial cannons; faced with the oncoming mass of Tilly’s veterans, they broke with barely a shot fired. Johann Georg himself was said not to have reined in until he was 15 miles away; some of his cavalry found enough courage to sack the helpless Swedish baggage wagons before following him.
Because they thought the battle was lost, the Saxons fled the battlefield and plundered the Swedish baggage train to take what goods they could before the fled for home. The Swedish forces under Gustave Horn’s leadership, however, regrouped and filled the gaps in the ranks that the fleeing Saxons had created. As they day wore on, the Swedes broke through the imperial lines, capturing about six thousand solders and forcing the rest to make a hasty retreat. The Swedes continued to chase down their enemies, capturing or slaughtering them. During the pursuit, however, the Swedish baggage train was left far behind. The day after the battle, the Swedish army was quartered in a nearby town where the men waited two days for their depleted baggage train and families to catch up.
Monro (1647, cited in Mortimer, 2002, p. 30)
And all night our brave Camerades, the Saxons were making use of their heeles in flying, thinking all was lost, they made booty of our wagons and goods, too good a recompence for Cullions that had left their Duke, betrayed their country and the good cause
Battle Marston Moor (2 July 1644)
At Marston Moor some of Goring’s Royalist horse turned inward to attack the allies but others headed for the baggage train.
Most of Goring’s victorious wing then either scattered in pursuit, or fell out to loot the allied baggage train, but some of them under Lucas wheeled to attack the right flank of the allied infantry.
Battle of Jankov (6 March 1645
Even more dangerous than having their possessions stolen was the possibility of being captured if the enemy overran their position. This is exactly what happened to the women in the Swedish baggage train at the Battle of Jankov on March 6, 1645. During the battle the imperial forces caught the Swedish right flank unprepared and overran and scattered it. As the imperialists began to chase the Swedish forces, they ran into the Swedish baggage train. The imperial troops stopped their attack to loot the baggage and take the women who had been left with the army’s equipment and supplies as prisoners. Capturing these women proved to be quite important because among the group of prisoners was Beata De la Gardie, the Swedish commander Lennart Torstensson’s wife. Fortunately for the new captives the Swedish right flank regrouped and counterattacked while the looting was proceeding. While the wives were saved from imprisonment, the Swedes’ enemies escaped with some of their possessions.
Naseby (14 June 1645)
Rupert either neglected or was unable to rally the cavalier horsemen, who galloped off the battlefield in pursuit of the fleeing Parliamentarians.
Behind the Parliamentarian lines, Rupert’s men had reached Naseby and the Parliamentarian baggage. The Parliamentarian camp guards refused to surrender, and Rupert eventually rallied his men and led them back to the battlefield. It was too late by this time to save the remnants of the Royalist infantry, and Rupert could not induce his men to make another charge. Fairfax halted and reorganised his lines, and when he resumed his advance, Rupert’s cavalry rode off the field.
Fairfax’s forces pursued Royalist survivors fleeing north towards Leicester. Archaeological evidence suggests that fugitives and Royalist baggage guards tried to rally on the slopes of Castle Yard (also known as Wadborough Hill), a wooded eminence which once had a motte and bailey castle, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) behind the Royalist position at the start of the battle. Many Royalists were slaughtered when they mistakenly followed what they thought was the main road to Leicester into the churchyard in the village of Marston Trussell, and were unable to escape their pursuers. Parliamentarian troops also hacked to death at least 100 women camp-followers in the apparent belief they were Irish, though they were probably Welsh whose language was mistaken for Irish. This massacre was without precedent in a war where atrocities against civilians were rare and strongly discouraged, and the reason for it remains a mystery. Wedgwood suggests that the soldiers were intent on plunder rather than killing but were enraged when the women, possibly armed with cooking knives, resisted them.
Where to get Tilly’s Very Bad Day
Ailes, M. E. (2018). Courage and Grief: Women and Sweden’s Thirty Years’ War. University of Nebraska Press.
Monro, R. (1637).Monro, His Expedition with the Worthy Scots regiment (Called Mac-Keyes Regiment). London.
Mortimer, G. (2002). Eyewitness Accounts of the Thirty Years War 1618-48. Palgrave.